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02nd Apr 2024

Woman immediately pulls out of buying first home after spotting ‘huge red flag’ in garden

Charlie Herbert

It was ‘only a matter of time’ before it caused damage to the property

A woman who was buying her first home pulled out of the deal after her sister spotted a ‘huge red flag’ in the garden.

Lois Connelly was looking at a property in Bristol last year when she discovered the garden had an issued that would have caused her plenty of problems further down the line.

The NHS worker was informed in her Homebuyer Report that bamboo had been planted in the front and back gardens, and was advised to seek expert advice.

She said: “It was my sister who spotted the bamboo initially when we viewed the property. It had been planted directly into the ground in both the back and front gardens. Although it had been cut back, we could see it had spread and was growing right up against the house on both sides. When the surveyor flagged it up on his report, recommending that it be checked by an expert, I realised I was going to have to do something about it.”

Invasive plant specialists Environet then did a survey on the property and concluded that the bamboo was a “running” variety which was already posing a threat to the pipes and drains under the terraced house.

Bamboo is a popular garden feature as it can help create privacy (Environet)

Bamboo has increasingly become an issue for surveyors, and often forces sellers to either take action themselves to remove the rapid-growing plant or accept a discounted price for their property.

When the bamboo issue was flagged, Lois asked for a reduction in the agreed price to fund the professional removal work of the plant.

Initially, the vendor refused so Lois withdrew her offer. But in the end the homeowner agree to a price reduction covering half the removal costs, Wales Online reports.

Lois said it was “only a matter of time until it started causing damage to the property” and advised any prospective homebuyers to have a professional survey done if the property has bamboo in the garden.

Bamboo is a popular garden feature as it can provide privacy for gardens overlooked by other properties. But its hardy, fast-growing qualities also pose a risk, as it can push through brickwork, drains, patios, and even any weaknesses in concrete.

Between June and December last year, Environet said they saw a 55 per cent annual increase in enquiries for bamboo removal relating to property transactions.

Bamboo can push through brickwork and concrete. Here, the plant has managed to grow behind someone’s oven (Environet)

Nic Seal, founder of Environet, told JOE: “In my view, bamboo is at least as destructive as Japanese knotweed, due to the astonishing rate at which the runners grow, enabling it to spread and cause damage more quickly.

“Surveyors are flagging the issue much more frequently than they were a couple of years ago and buyers are rightly insisting that bamboo infestations are properly dealt with.

“In addition to damage to the property and garden, buyers need to consider the risk of a legal case from a neighbour if the bamboo has encroached into their property, which could be expensive to resolve.”

Unlike with Japanese knotweed, there are currently no requirements for sellers to declare bamboo on a property.

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